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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Rejected at Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30)

The response of the people in the synagogue when they expressed surprise at the claims of Jesus and ignorance of his activities shows that Jesus had not done anything unusual during the years he lived in Nazareth. There was an apocryphal book from the second century that contained stories of alleged miracles that he did as a child, but it is clear from the response of the worshippers that they were not aware of any such activities by him.
One thing that we can say about the audience is that they did things together, even when they were rejecting the Saviour that had been sent to them that day by God. The proclamation of good news by Jesus had made them angry because they realised that he was saying that they did not deserve grace.
That is a very common response to the gospel. I suppose we could say that if we do not make self-righteous people angry then we have not explained the gospel very well to them. To be placed by Jesus among the outsiders was a cause of offence to them.
There still is a steep cliff outside Nazareth and the worshippers decided it was appropriate after the sermon to throw Jesus over it. The solemn thing about their intention is that Jesus made no effort to stop them – he even let them take him to the brow of the hill from which they intended to murder the Son of God. They had said ‘no’ to Jesus, and they were left by him. It is striking that in verse 29 Luke refers to Nazareth as ‘their’ town – it was no longer the town of Jesus.

Obviously, Jesus showed his power when he moved away from the crowd as they prepared to throw him over the hillside. Since there is no mention of any disciples being present, it is likely that Jesus was there without supporters. But he did not need any human support in order to escape from an angry mob. They had no power over him and he showed who was in charge by leaving them at the edge of the cliff. He would yet face another crowd who wanted to kill him, and in Jerusalem he allowed it to happen because he would then die for the sins of his people. But that was not going to happen in Nazareth at that time, a reminder that Jesus was in control of events.

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